American Sniper At The Iraqi Box Office

American-Sniper-Movie-Review-Image-82

American Sniper, the Clint Eastwood biography of late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, roused a lot of attention among Iraqi audiences, despite the subject matter of US-occupied Iraq. According to the New York Post, the film drew Iraqi cinema patrons in a big way:

Moviegoers in Baghdad were on the edge of their seats while watching “American Sniper” — as the controversial war drama thrilled audiences in Iraq, where much of the film is set.

“When the sniper was hesitating to shoot [the child holding the RPG in the film’s first scene], everyone was yelling, ‘Just shoot him!’” Gaith Mohammed told the Global Post, adding that his theater was packed.

“Some people watching were just concentrating, but others were screaming, ‘F-ck, shoot him! He has an IED, don’t wait for permission!!’”

Since the movie’s release, many people have objected to the film’s portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle — a man who described Iraqis as “savages” in his memoir.

But despite the debatable subject matter, audiences turned out in droves at the upscale Mansour Mall for one short week to see the Clint Eastwood biopic, the Global Post reported Thursday.

Management eventually put their foot down, though, and ended showings “because the hero of this film boasts of killing more than 160 Muslims,” according to a theater employee.

The film does not portray Kyle as an adversary to Iraqis as a whole; Bradley Cooper’s Kyle is generally respectful and restrained with the Iraqis he interacts with off the battlefield, in the film. It’s therefore not entirely surprising to me that Iraqi audiences – who presumably like a good war film as much as anyone else – would show up for a film about a cattle-wrangling Texas ace sniper.

I saw the film in the downtime before the SHOT Show. In my opinion, as a film, it is neither great nor terrible. Like most Eastwood films, it portrays different cultures mixing with each other in a way that is realistic enough to be compelling, but also confined to a certain perspective. Like a lot of war films, it is episodic in nature, and there are some episodes within it that are really great.

Despite what some might think about the film, the NY Post article does contain one quote I found very encouraging:

I love watching war movies because especially now they give me the strength to face ISIS,” Mohammed said.

Carry on, Baghdad.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Giolli Joker

    Seen (and actually liked) the movie here in the UAE in a cinema with plenty of Arabs. They seemed much less offended than many Western critics…

    • Bal256

      The fact that western media is more “offended for” muslims than the actual people themselves says a lot.

      • Sensitive Dude

        The muslims don’t know any better. It’s up to paternalistic white liberals to be offended for them.

        • Nicks87

          The only thing that offended me was that the film was based on the life of a liar and proven BS artist.

          • antiliberalcryptonite

            This movie was about Jesse Ventura? I would not have known if you had not told me so.

          • Nicks87

            No but maybe part 2 should be about how Ventura won his lawsuit against the Kyle estate or maybe about how Chris Kyle shot two carjackers and then gave the police a magic, navy seal, get-out-of-jail-free card and they let him go without so much as a statement or police report being filed. Or maybe it should be about how Chris “Jesus” Kyle was shooting looters during hurricane Katrina because the US Govt condones summary executions for petty offenses.

          • Nick there’s no honor in suing a widow.

          • Anonymous

            Jesse Ventura didn’t sue Chris Kyle’s (multimillionaire)widow. He sued his estate, and rightfully so. And unlike Kyle’s estate, Ventura supposedly had to pay for all of it out of his own pocket.

            All this baying for Ventura’s blood over this case is incomprehensible to me…I’m guessing much of it stems from his politics, which was probably a motivating factor behind Kyle making all that malicious crap up about him to begin with.

            That and selling books, of course.

          • Nicks87

            So his widow deserves to keep the millions of dollars they made off of selling a book that was full of lies? Jesse did the right thing, he helped expose Chris Kyle for the fraud that he is/was. I don’t take any pleasure in Kyle’s death or the way that he died but… Ron Paul said it best: “Chris Kyle’s death confirms that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

          • Anonymous

            And don’t forget, most(or was it all?) of the profits from Kyle’s book were supposedly going to charity…what happened there?

            The deification of this guy by so many in this country is depressing, and more than a little creepy. Get better heroes people.

          • Nicks87

            Exactly, I think only about 2% actually went to charity.

          • Nick I don’t care about the money it’s the act of taking on a widow in court after her husband was murdered. Not an honorable thing to do regardless of circumstances.

          • Anonymous

            Trying ruin someone’s livelihood and reputation in order to enrich oneself is hardly honorable either, wouldn’t you agree? Why do the Kyles get a pass here? Remember, Ventura offered more than once to drop the suit if Kyle would simply recant his B.S. story – he chose not to.

            I believe either course of action would have left Ventura hated by many of the people around here, but at least following through and winning the lawsuit got him a bit of justice…and the Kyle family was hardly left wanting financially.

          • David_Theman

            How is it not honorable for a man to sue for damages because of a lie? Why should he not seek legal relief for actual harm he receieved because of Kyle’s lies?

            His wife had the ability to release an apology as Ventura initially requested and it all could have went away. When she did not acting as head of the estate she was just as wrong as Chris.

            Stop the hero worship and start using some actual logic. Emotional appeals regarding “the wife” “the women” “the children” and whatever else you want to throw out are not and will never be acceptable logical arguments

          • David_Theman

            He didn’t sue a widow. He sued Kyle. Kyle died.

          • Aaron E

            Nick, “maybe about how Chris Kyle shot two carjackers … and they let him go without so much as a statement or police report being filed”.

            I think the fact that they were CAR JACKERS says it all. If the police didn’t follow up that’s on them, but it sounds like the bad guys got what was coming – and GOOD!

          • Nicks87

            I agree carjackers do deserve to be shot. Too bad the story was totally made up.

          • David_Theman

            You just missed the forest for the trees.
            The story was a lie. He does not and there do not exist get out of jail cards. He never killed anyone in a car jacking.

          • Aaron E

            You’re right. I hadn’t read up on the “carjacking” and was taking Nicks statement of the event as fact with a supposed SEAL benefit. That’s why my response was to the line of “who cares if carjackers were shot”, instead of the supposed “benefit” Kyle had from police
            Kyle was at best a braggart and at worse a liar, which definitely doesn’t bode well for his overall memory. However, his service record stands. “Confirmed” means witnesses were present and verified his actions in reports.
            So, on the personal side – Kyle was way wrapped up in himself.
            On the military service side – still did a great job.

          • David_Theman

            I don’t think anyone has said anything about his confirmed kills, that said I would disagree that his military service side was great.

            He made his name and reputation murdering people he called savages and terrorists, under the pretext that any male 16 years or older was a terrorist and he had a green light to kill and it would be up to the family to prove that he wasn’t a terrorists after he was killed if they wanted justice.

            To me that sounds no different than the rules Lon was operating under in Ruby Ridge. Most people here would never say Lon was a hero and his profesional ability was excellent. So why would you say Kyle was?

          • Aaron E

            Easy!
            The kills Kyle made were not murder. He was in a war zone, and he engaged combatants according to his orders. Such is the nature of war, especially when the enemy decides to hide behind civilian clothes. Men, women, and children were used to plant bombs, or act as suicide bombers. That makes them “unlawful combatants” under the Geneva Convention, and are therefore subject to hostilities.
            During heavy fighting in Ramadi and Fallujah the U.S. military declared martial law, and ordered the evacuation of civilians. They notified the public in a variety of ways that they were to leave the area by a specific time or they would be considered enemy combatants. Fair notice, and the vast majority complied.
            Those who remained did so to their own peril, and justly allowed themselves to be placed under “unlawful combatant” status. Even still, the military put higher restrictions on women and young children. Yet men of fighting age – 16 and up, after notice being given, became enemy combatants allowed to be engaged. Shooting a combatant, even one not holding a weapon at that time, is not murder – its war!
            Remember, the Nazis used youth as young as 12 in their last ditch effort to stop the Allies. No soldier who killed one of those boys was a murderer, just as Kyle is not a murderer for his kills.

          • David_Theman

            Easy, the kills he made were murder.

            Him being in a warzone caused by an illegal invasion by the US doesn’t excuse his murders. Just like Nazi murdering of non-military under the argument they were at war is not an excuse.

            No outright murdering innocent people is not the nature of war. If it is then there is nothing wrong with the 9/11 bombing right? War is war right?

            Trying to claim that suicide bombers are the reason its okay to murder any military age male (in general 16 years of age and older) in a region is okay is immoral and it is also illegal.

            If it makes you feel better to repeat the falsehood that it isn’t murder to kill someone who isn’t engaged in fighting but just a male in a area, so be it, but most of us know it is false.

            Such is the case of a lot of americans though. You don’t think, yet when someone applies the exact same standards that you hold against them onto you, you are the first to cry about their savagery, how inhumane they are, and etc. Shows your hypocrisy.

          • Carlos Velazquez

            What’s wrong with shooting looters and carjackers? I thought that is what an upstanding and law abiding American is supposed to do when police are not readily available.

      • n0truscotsman

        Thats actually pretty funny. Made me chuckle 😀

        Never underestimate the American outrage generation machine. Or “moral panic” factories.

    • Isn’t that strange. They take much less offense than many of us do.

      • abc

        Maybe it is because they are not aware of what the hero in the story wrote in his diary?

    • Scott Nohea Coleman

      I got to visit the Dubai port in the early 2000s on a port visit. I found the UAE to be quite tolerant. As an example, Jeff Dunham went around the world on tour in his latest special. He went to Malaysia ( a muslim nation ) where they objected to Achmed. Yet in Abu Dhabi, he didn’t hold back on the terrorist jokes with Achmed. They laughed there heads off and Jeff is still alive! The UAE is a bright spot for tolerant Muslims. I served in Iraq three times. Although Iraqis may seem a** backwards compared to Americans, I had nothing but kind treatment from them. Sure, a few would shoot at us, but so many so poor were so giving with us, the occupiers.

  • Tyler John Richards

    I’d be interested in seeing the gross that the film has made over the entire middle east.

  • I really miss the Middle Eastern strongmen that America kept (accidentally?) replacing with jiahidists & car-bombers. A golden era of gold-plated combloc weapons is behind us. *manly tear drips down cheek*

    • El Duderino

      Don’t forget the ridiculous 19th century style uniforms covered in tchotchke medals. And berets. Gotta have a beret if you’re a Third World dictator…I think the CIA issues them.

      • Giolli Joker

        The closure of your post killed me.

  • Rustler

    Rustle in the context of livestock only means to steal said livestock. And that’s 10 years’ jail time in Texas.

    • Hahah, pardon the error! Is “wrangling” a better term?

    • DAN V.

      Wait, your name is Rustler.

      • Giolli Joker

        How do you think he learnt about the 10 years jail term? 😀

  • Ratcraft

    Chris Kyle — a man who described Iraqis as “savages” in his memoir
    I take it nobody reads books written by the men who fought in the Pacific in WWII? As if a soldier should have a crush on his enemy……

    • CT Resident

      It is amazing to me that someone would read through Chris Kyle’s memoir and the big take away was the word “savages” .

      • Ratcraft

        It’s nuts, you would think that it’s a no brainer. Of course you are going to detest your enemy. How on earth could a sane person willfully kill people he loves or has respect for? I love how he’s called a racist…. since when is islam a race?

        • Nicks87

          In the past soldiers had respect for the enemy. After the fighting was done they respected their adversaries and treated them with dignity. Alexander the great always looked at his enemies as future friends and possible allies. It was one of the reasons he was able to conquer most of the known world. Only in 3rd world hell holes are soldiers taught to hate and “detest” their enemies. It’s what separates the civilized world from the “savage” tribal world.

          • Ratcraft

            You are sadly mistaken…… The Japanese detested the Americans and the Chinese, the Germans detested the Russians. Maybe Alexander the Great had a different opinion but he wasn’t in a fox hole was he. Read about US soldiers fighting in the pacific. Read a book called “with the old breed”. The Viet-Cong mutilated American dead, so did the Japanese. The brutality of POWs stands all on it’s own of hatred. Soldiers are taught to KILL. Now if that isn’t hate I don’t know what is.

          • billyoblivion

            Poppycock.

          • AK™

            Tell Adolf Hitler that..I bet he had plenty of respect for all those he ordered killed..

    • Patrick Mingle

      I think the big problem is that people writing about the book did not actually read it but rather out of context excerpts. I took his use of the term “savage” as directed towards the insurgents who were torturing and murdering the Iraqi people, not the Iraqi people themselves. The one moment in the book I think of is when he and his team enter the basement of a house where insurgents had been torturing mentally handicapped Iraqis. Its hard to think of another word for people like that besides savages.

      • Ratcraft

        Agreed!

  • dannye

    Naturally the Baghdad quislings would enjoy this film.

  • Name

    Of course the NYT would confuse a grenade with an RPG…

    • El Duderino

      Not sure if serious…RPG is an acronym for Rocket Propelled Grenade.

    • Yalan

      The first kid and his ‘mom’, is actually does throw a stick ww2 german and russian style grenade.

    • Risky

      Rocket Propelled Grenade is actually a ‘back-ronym’ for the abbreviation of the Russian “Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot,” essentially
      translated as handheld anti tank launcher. I think the confusion
      comes from the grenade in the film as being an RKG-3, sounds kind of
      similar, and actually is much more functionally similar to an RPG-7
      warhead than it is a hand grenade. The one depicted in the film was WAY
      off from how they really are deployed and fucnction, so the film got it just as wrong as the NYT in that regard.

  • tony

    A slap in the face of Feindesland ?

  • Anonymous

    Movie was just not very good, regardless of how you feel about the real Chris Kyle. Is this supposed to vindicate it, him or the invasion of Iraq?

    • I don’t know that it tries to make a specific statement. I think Eastwood just wanted to depict the man and his trials as well as what war is like.

  • shadow

    I have not watched a “war” movie since Vietnam. We were all trained to do a job. From what I understand, the man did his job.

  • David_Theman

    Beneficiaries of US imperialism eat up US propaganda.
    File this under dog bites man.

    The fact that US puppet government has no power in Iraq, ISIS spread in Iraq, Shiite militias that successfully repealed the US pretty much are the main force in repelling ISIS, speak to reality being much different than the annecdotes in this article.

    As for Kyle, he was a murderer. Unfortunately movies that depict him as the murdering simpleton that he was would find no audience in the West. Introspection isn’t valued in the US.

    • HKGuns

      Why don’t you just go away and apply a little introspection to the savages over there troll.

      • David_Theman

        Why should I go away?
        “Savages” over there.
        Seems like you are one of the man over “here”
        When you are able to formulate your issue with me though, I’ll be happy to have a discussion with you.

        • HKGuns

          Is this your first two days using big boy words? Try to form complete sentences before speaking.

          • David_Theman

            Simpletons tend to get angry when they are confronted with things they don’t understand.

            You’ll be okay buddy.

        • Aaron E

          Were you in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? Probably not. Kyle had 4 tours of duty, and saw a lot of death. His kills were a part of his job, and he realized that those kills saved American lives.

          “Savages”. Using women, children, and other forced participants to blow up other innocent civilians … yeah, pretty savage if you ask me. And you can’t say it was just because America was there. Saddam’s hence men and sons were all too skilled at snatching people up, beating and torturing them, and often killing them in barbaric ways – burned alive, acid baths, thrown off buildings, etc. So Chris Kyle calling them “savages” makes sense based on what he saw of that part of humanity – a reality played out for years by the media (albeit without focusing blame where blame belonged).

          Regardless of politics, or reasons to be in Iraq, the Iraqi people actually got to vote in their representatives after a real murderer and torturing despot was removed.

          • David_Theman

            No I wasn’t in combat in any of the invasions and illegal wars and I am proud of that fact.

            Chris murdering people and other soldiers doing the same and then claiming they were only doing their jobs in partaking of a illegal invasion doesn’t absolve any of the participents of their blame, just like it didn’t absolve Lon Horiuchi nor any of the defendents in the Nuremberg trials who used the same defense.

            Women, children, and others risking their lives to the point of suicide attacks to repel foreign invaders isn’t savagery at all. I’m sure to them its simply a reality of trying to repeal imperialism of the largest power in the world.

            You talk about Sadaam’s evil henchmen and seem to be forgetting who put Sadaam in power, who sold him weapons, who put him in place to do all the things he did. Guess what, it wasn’t the Iraqi people, it was the US government. So trying to claim the US in removing a horrible dictator they installed to put in an ineffective dictator makes them a moral good is ridiculous on its face.

            Chris Kyle calling them makes sense to you and people like him because you don’t think. You have no historical perspective of how things came to be the way they are and you don’t care. You’d rather bask in the glory of murdering people who stand against invasion and pat yourself on the back when the US government does arguably worse to others around the world than Sadaam did to his own people, with the various number of crackpot dictators and thugs the US support. You may look at Kyle as a hero, I don’t. He and Luttrell represent everything wrong with your typical “patriot” American today. Proud and arrogant in complete ignorance. Lets also not forget the huge personal flaws in Kyle as a person.

            There is no to ignore the issue of the US illegally invading a nation. Then to ignorantly try to pass off voting as being worth the chaos, the loss of life, because a government that fixes elections and is a sole puppet of the US is in power or in reality claiming to be in power is ridiculous from the start. Iraqis mortality rate dropped heavily, birth defects because of US army shelling, million displaced, hundreds of thousands dead, millions wounded, and the country divided into Sunni (some isis supporters som not), Shiites, and Kurds.

            Open your eyes and stop drinking the kool-aid man.
            US invasions was hell on the iraqi people and for no gain at all, just as it was hell on the ignorant americans who needlessly were killed and maimed.

          • You really need to back it down and stay on topic. If you want to interact with other readers in a civil manner you are welcome here. If not perhaps you need to go elsewhere. Last warning.

          • David_Theman

            I’m on topic.

            Now again I find it funny I address point by point Aaron’s response to me.

            Yet you delete my response to his, yet leave his response up in full.

            Phil, why are you so scared of allowing others to communicate on this page.

            Surely the foundations of your beliefs aren’t so weak that to allow others to even read a different view makes you uncomfortable?

  • David_Theman

    Would like to know why my comment was deleted mods.
    I did not attack any other user, writer, nor did I use any profanity.

    It seems you all would delete my post, yet allow posts that blanket anyone acting against us imperialism as savages.

    Is there a reason for that?

    • America Lover

      I love the smell of Imperialism in the morning!

    • We didn’t delete your comment

      • David_Theman

        Yeah one of your people did.
        If you sort by newest message you will see a blank comment under this one.
        That was my original comment and there is a message that says “This comment was deleted” there is a reply by HKGUns and there is a reply by me.

        • I went back and checked the deleted comments that Disqus blocked. Yep I sure did delete it with good reason.

          • David_Theman

            Well atleast you admitted the truth after being called out on your blatant lie.

            What is your good reason? Though.
            I didn’t flame anyone.

            Calling chris kyle a murderer, you know exactly what he is all I did.
            I figure if you make posts against your site mantra of guns not politics and post something about Kyle, you should as a site and editorial group atleast have the stones to accept that everyone who comes here doesn’t have the same political ideas.

          • No lie at all—called out please:-) I didn’t go back and look at first. No he was not a murderer but that’s fine— your opinion.
            What you need to understand is this is not your website. You are a guest here and I don’t owe you an explanation of why I took a particular action. The rules on civil behaviour, racism etc are clear.

          • David_Theman

            Yes called out.
            Also you called me a liar when you claimed you didn’t delete it when everyone who could see the post knew the comment was deleted and there was a message that confirmed it was deleted.

            Yes chris Kyle was a murderer.
            I really don’t care if I’m a guest on your blog. I will state my opinion by your rules and if you don’t hold yourself accountable by the rules you publiclly claim to follow I will call you out on it.

            You have rules on civil behavior yet when people behave civilly and present a comment or opinion you don’t like you remove them. Yet you have people in this very thread who express bigoted opinions yet you allow them their posts to stand because they fall in line with your own bias against those people.

            That said its funny how defensive you are getting when you are correctly called out on your behavior. going so far to even delete your own posts in which you lie to try to save face.

  • Ratcraft

    They enslaved those the conquered, holy crap you’re insane. Rome had more slaves than citizens. Revisionist much?

    • Nicks87

      Rome? Alexander the great was greek (macedon) and no they didn’t enslave the people they conquered. You are an idiot and so are the people who upvoted your comment. Next time do a little research before you spout off.

      • Ratcraft

        I never said he was a roman, you just assumed. Phuc you koksuker. Rome took no slaves……

        • Nicks87

          Lol wow, I dont even know what to say but I think we’re done here.

          • Ratcraft

            Who is Lol wow? A rapper?

        • Drop that language directed at another reader. Yes I edited it out.

      • David_Theman

        Keep educating these people.
        It is sad that the loudest of the bunch are usually the most ignorant.

  • davod

    If Alexander always led from the front he would not have lasted long.

    • Nicks87

      Again, do a little research before posting. Your ignorance is showing.

    • David_Theman

      Alexander always led from the front.
      Try reading some history books on him.
      It was common at that time for generals and military leaders to lead and if not lead atleast be present on the field of battle.

  • ExiledOnMainStreet

    The butt hurt is strong with you.

    • Nicks87

      How so? Because I have more respect for someone who lived and died thousands of years ago in a foreign country than I do for that piece of trash Chris Kyle? If that makes me “butt hurt” then I guess I am.

  • talat

    What a bizzare movie……I mean Iraq war has nothing to do with 9/11….it was because of WMD, which was a big lie……. Feel pity for US soldiers , fought and died for wrong war

  • David_Theman

    in your mind you probably feel you’ve actually made a point. You haven’t.

  • Simcha M.

    I’ve been trying in vain to search on the web what the Israelis think about this great movie. As an Israeli myself, and as an IDF infantry veteran, I view all war movies with an extremely critical eye and this one passed muster, with three major exceptions:

    1) The infantry/deck hatch on the M-113 is unlatched; extremely dangerous to anybody inside the fighting compartment who sticks their head out.
    2) The Iraqi sniper (the actor, actually) clicks his Dragunov magazine home and then slaps it, a la M-16!
    3) The touching family scene at the very end of the movie has Kyle with his finger inside the trigger guard of his Colt SA Army (?). At least take .02 seconds to have him checking the gun, for G-d’s sake!!

    Anybody else out there wonder why the SEAL with the M-4/M-203 didn’t fire one single grenade at the opposing rooftop terrorists???

  • Casey Craig

    The one scene where Chris points a gun at his wife about ruined the movie for me. No sniper would EVER do that. Other then that, the movie was excellent.

  • Albert Einstein

    Chris Kyle was trash. Enough said. His eponymous legend is great. The man was trash in reality.